Mona Fawaz is an associate professor of urban planning and studies in the Department of Architecture and Design at the American University of Beirut. Based on an interdisciplinary approach that looks at actor strategies, legal/informal regulatory frameworks, and property regimes, her work investigates the social production of city spaces in a series of empirical case studies taken in informal settlements as well as in large-scale public and private urban developments.
During her fellowship year, Fawaz is writing a book provisionally titled “When the Plan Fails and Urban Regulations Are Bypassed: Narrating Beirut from its Peripheries.” Juxtaposed against a dominant historiography that describes Beirut’s growth as a process originating from a central core, the project brings to light narratives taken from the city’s peripheries that together posit a revised vision of the city’s production: one where informal settlements, refugee camps, and old villages appear as laboratories of city making. The project focuses on the formative period 1950–1975 and seeks to describe an alternative history of the production of Beirut, rather than a history of its peripheries.
Fawaz completed her graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after earning a bachelor of architecture at the American University of Beirut. Recent publications include “The Politics of Property in Planning: Hezbollah’s Reconstruction of Haret Hreik as Case Study,” in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (May 2014), and “Towards the Right to the City in Informal Settlements,” in Locating Right to the City in the Global South (Routledge, 2013).